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General Comments

First, I want to say that BG is a website that excites me because it is dedicated to helping people who are searching for information.  I especially like that it emphasizes precision and accuracy.  You are sticklers for accuracy, which is something I too am passionate about. I committed to your website by subscribing to BG+ though I don't yet see much benefit to me personally (based on how I use the site).  Still, I want to support you.

Having voiced my support and my appreciation of your mission, I feel the need to make some comments about the website.  I have found it to be possibly the most "user un-friendly" site I have ever seen.  I have yet to leave the website that I have not been really frustrated.

One example is lack of helpl while using the features. Yes, there is a "Get Help" tab but that is basically useless when you need help "right now".  For instance, I was transcribing a headstone that had a nickname.  I wanted to know how to transcribe a nickname but when I entered "nicknames" on the search help screen it had nothing.  I went to the community and the blog but there was nothing specific to this.  I finally went outside the program to Google and found several instances where the subject was discussed.  When clicking the link, however, it just just took me back to the page that had general topics.  That was no help because it was a needle in a haystack.  I would have had to go through every topic in hopes of finding what I was looking for.  I was finally able to find the answer in Google, but not by going back to BG.  It was ultra frustrating.

You need to have help tabs on every screen where you can easily find definitions of and explanations for each action.  You should not have to leave the screen and go to dig through the "haystack" of help subjects to find easy answers that could have been answered on the original screen.  This is the biggest weakness of your website.  Almost every website I visit has help at every page and for every action.  I was shocked when yours didn't.

There are other problems but this one would clean up most of the user un-friendliness. These can be discussed later.  For now, cleaning up "help" is by far the most important task you could confront.

Thank you for your attention.
Tom Givens

If you are having issues, we are usually online for support M-F from 9am-1pm MST.  We are quick to answer anything for BG+ members. For our free members, we are also here, but the response time can take a few days. 

For transcriptions, the rule of thumb has always been to transcribe what is on the stone. Personally though, I would write nicknames in the epitaph box. Why? because it makes searching easier for people when the proper name is used not the nickname. 

Also for help we have a "get help" section that nearly covers every topic associated on our website. This can be found here:  If there is something missing, feel free to let us know and we will be happy to write up an article explaining in detail how to do anything associated with the website. :)

Thank you for your quick reply. I do know About the "get help" section. I even believe that it probably has answers for nearly every question. Unfortunatly, finding anything is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I've found it unsearchable. And my biggest problem is that I have to leave whatever I'm doing to navigate to the help. Then when you go back to what you were doing, you have to start all over. I know you get along fine in this program because you use it all the time and are used to its quirks. For a person like me it is extremely frustrating and maddening. Nothing is easy or intuitive in this program. To me, the only hope for this program is putting help with functions and definitions on every page. That would fix about 90% of the problems. Then you could move on to navigation. Please know that I'm not trying to be disagreeable. I'm just very frustrated with every use and I know I can't be the only one. And by the way... I've been using BG off And on for several years. Thank you.

We do have a new feature on both the free and paid website.  This is new just as of today. This is a bot named Betty.  You can find her on the BillionGraves helpdesk. If you type in a question, she can usually find the answers. We are trying to teach her how to find the answers to questions from our customers. We would like people to start asking her questions so she can learn. You can find her by clicking on the blue leaf on the right side of the helpdesk screen. 

I happened to see it the other day, but I didn't try it yet.  That's a great idea! 

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